When Someone You Love has an Addiction

When Someone You Love Has an Addiction

The fallout from an addiction, for addicts and the people who love them, is devastating – the manipulations, the guilt, the destruction of relationships and the breakage of people. When addicts know they are loved by someone who is invested in them, they immediately have fuel for their addiction. Your love and your need to bring them safely through their addiction might see you giving money you can’t afford, saying yes when that yes will destroy you, lying to protect them, and having your body turn cold with fear from the midnight ring of the phone. You dread seeing them and you need to see them, all at once. 

You might stop liking them, but you don’t stop loving them. If you’re waiting for the addict to stop the insanity – the guilt trips, the lying, the manipulation – it’s not going to happen. If you can’t say no to the manipulations of their addiction in your unaddicted state, know that they won’t say no from their addicted one. Not because they won’t, but because they can’t. 

If you love an addict, it will be a long and excruciating road before you realise that there is absolutely nothing you can do. It will come when you’re exhausted, heartbroken, and when you feel the pain of their self-destruction pressing relentlessly and permanently against you. The relationships and the world around you will start to break, and you’ll cut yourself on the jagged pieces.  That’s when you’ll know, from the deepest and purest part of you, that you just can’t live like this any more.  

I’ve worked with plenty of addicts, but the words in this post come from loving one. I have someone in my life who has been addicted to various substances. It’s been heartbreaking to watch. It’s been even more heartbreaking to watch the effect on the people I love who are closer to him than I am.

I would be lying if I said that my compassion has been undying. It hasn’t. It’s been exhausted and stripped back to bare. I feel regularly as though I have nothing left to give him. What I’ve learned, after many years, is that there is absolutely nothing anyone can do to change him. With all of our combined wisdom, strength, love and unfailing will to make things better for him, there is nothing we can do. 

I realised a while ago that I couldn’t ride in the passenger seat with someone at the wheel who was on such a relentless path to self-destruction. It’s taken many years, a lot of sadness, and a lot of collateral damage to people, relationships and lives outside of his.

What I do know is that when he is ready to change direction, I’ll be there, with love, compassion and a fierce commitment to stand beside him in whatever way he needs to support his recovery. He will have an army of people behind him and beside him when he makes the decision, but until then, I and others who love him are powerless. I know that.

Nobody intends for a behaviour to become an addiction, and if you are someone who loves an addict – whether it’s a parent, child, partner, friend, sibling – the guilt, the shame and the helplessness can be overwhelming. 

Addiction is not a disease of character, personality, spirit or circumstance. It can happen to anyone. It’s a human condition with human consequences, and being that we’re all human, we’re all vulnerable. Addicts can come from any life and from any family. It’s likely that in our lifetime, if we don’t love someone with an addiction, we’ll know someone who does, so this is an important conversation to have, for all of us. 

The problem with loving an addict is that sometimes the things that will help them are the things that would seem hurtful, cold and cruel if they were done in response to non-addicts. Often, the best ways to respond to an addict have the breathtaking capacity to drown those who love them with guilt, grief, self-doubt and of course, resistance.

Loving an addict in any capacity can be one of the loneliest places in the world. It’s easy to feel judged for withdrawing support for the addict, but eventually, this becomes the only possible response. Unless someone has been in battle armour beside you, fighting the fight, being brought to their knees, with their heart-broken and their will tested, it’s not for them to judge. 

The more we can talk about openly about addiction, the more we can lift the shame, guilt, grief and unyielding self-doubt that often stands in the way of being able to respond to an addict in a way that supports their healing, rather than their addiction. It’s by talking that we give each other permission to feel what we feel, love who we love, and be who we are, with the vulnerabilities, frayed edges, courage and wisdom that are all a part of being human.

When Someone You Love is an Addict.

  1. You’re dealing with someone different now. 

    When an addiction takes hold, the person you love disappears, at least until the addiction loosens its grip. The person you love is still in there somewhere, but that’s not who you’re dealing with. The person you remember may have been warm, funny, generous, wise, strong – so many wonderful things – but addiction changes people. It takes a while to adjust to this reality and it’s very normal to respond to the addicted person as though he or she is the person you remember. This is what makes it so easy to fall for the manipulations, the lies and the betrayal – over and over. You’re responding to the person you remember – but this is not that person. The sooner you’re able to accept this, the sooner you can start working for the person you love and remember, which will mean doing what sometimes feels cruel, and always heartbreaking, so the addiction is starved of the power to keep that person away. The person you love is in there – support that person, not the addict in front of you. The sooner you’re able to stop falling for the manipulations, lies, shame and guilt that feeds their addiction, the more likely it will be that the person you remember will be able to find the way back to you.

  2. Don’t expect them to be on your logic.

    When an addiction takes hold, the person’s reality becomes distorted by that addiction. Understand that you can’t reason with them or talk them into seeing things the way you do. For them, their lies don’t feel like lies. Their betrayal doesn’t feel like betrayal. Their self-destruction doesn’t always feel like self-destruction. It feels like survival. Change will come when there is absolutely no other option but to change, not when you’re able to find the switch by giving them enough information or logic.

  3. When you’re protecting them from their own pain, you’re standing in the way of their reason to stop.

    Addicts will do anything to feed their addiction because when the addiction isn’t there, the emotional pain that fills the space is greater. People will only change when what they are doing causes them enough pain, that changing is a better option than staying the same. That’s not just for addicts, that’s for all of us. We often avoid change – relationships, jobs, habits – until we’ve felt enough discomfort with the old situation, to open up to a different option.

    Change happens when the force for change is greater than the force to stay the same. Until the pain of the addiction outweighs the emotional pain that drives the addiction, there will be no change. 

    When you do something that makes their addictive behaviour easier, or protects them from the pain of their addiction – perhaps by loaning them money, lying for them, driving them around – you’re stopping them from reaching the point where they feel enough pain that letting go of the addiction is a better option. Don’t minimise the addiction, ignore it, make excuses for it or cover it up. Love them, but don’t stand in the way of their healing by protecting them from the pain of their addiction. 

  4. There’s a different way to love an addict.

    When you love them the way you loved them before the addiction, you can end up supporting the addiction, not the person. Strong boundaries are important for both of you. The boundaries you once had might find you innocently doing things that make it easier for the addiction to continue. It’s okay to say no to things you might have once agreed to – in fact, it’s vital – and is often one of the most loving things you can do. If it’s difficult, have an anchor – a phrase or an image to remind you of why your ‘no’ is so important. If you feel as though saying no puts you in danger, the addiction has firmly embedded itself into the life of the person you love. In these circumstances, be open to the possibility that you may need professional support to help you to stay safe, perhaps by stopping contact. Keeping a distance between you both is no reflection on how much love and commitment you feel to the person, and all about keeping you both safe.

  5. Your boundaries – they’re important for both of you.

    If you love an addict, your boundaries will often have to be stronger and higher than they are with other people in your life. It’s easy to feel shame and guilt around this, but know that your boundaries are important because they’ll be working hard for both of you. Setting boundaries will help you to see things more clearly from all angles because you won’t be as blinded by the mess or as willing to see things through the addict’s eyes – a view that often involves entitlement, hopelessness, and believing in the validity of his or her manipulative behaviour. Set your boundaries lovingly and as often as you need to. Be clear about the consequences of violating the boundaries and make sure you follow through, otherwise it’s confusing for the addict and unfair for everyone. Pretending that your boundaries aren’t important will see the addict’s behaviour get worse as your boundaries get thinner. In the end this will only hurt both of you.

  6. You can’t fix them, and it’s important for everyone that you stop trying.

    The addict and what they do are completely beyond your control. They always will be. An addiction is all-consuming and it distorts reality. Know the difference between what you can change (you, the way you think, the things you do) and what you can’t change (anyone else). There will be a strength that comes from this, but believing this will take time, and that’s okay. If you love someone who has an addiction, know that their stopping isn’t just a matter of wanting to. Let go of needing to fix them or change them and release them with love, for your sake and for theirs.

  7. See the reality.

    When fear becomes overwhelming, denial is a really normal way to protect yourself from a painful reality. It’s easier to pretend that everything is okay, but this will only allow the addictive behaviour to bury itself in deeper. Take notice if you are being asked to provide money, emotional resources, time, babysitting – anything more than feels comfortable. Take notice also of the  feeling, however faint, that something isn’t right. Feelings are powerful, and will generally try to alert us when something isn’t right, long before our minds are willing to listen. 

  8. Don’t do things that keep their addiction alive.

    When you love an addict all sorts of boundaries and conventions get blurred. Know the difference between helping and enabling. Helping takes into account the long-term effects, benefits and consequences. Enabling is about providing immediate relief, and overlooks the long-term damage that might come with that short-term relief. Providing money, accommodation, dropping healthy boundaries to accommodate the addict – these are all completely understandable when it comes to looking after someone you love, but with someone who has an addiction, it’s helping to keep the addiction alive. 

    Ordinarily, it’s normal to help out the people we love when they need it, but there’s a difference between helping and enabling. Helping supports the person. Enabling supports the addiction. 

    Be as honest as you can about the impact of your choices. This is so difficult – I know how difficult this is, but when you change what you do, the addict will also have to change what he or she does to accommodate those changes. This will most likely spin you into guilt, but let the addicted one know that when he or she decides to do things differently, you’ll be the first one there and your arms will be open, and that you love them as much as you ever have. You will likely hear that you’re not believed, but this is designed to refuel your enabling behaviour. Receive what they are saying, be saddened by it and feel guilty if you want to – but for their sake, don’t change your decision.

  9. Don’t buy into their view of themselves.

    Addicts will believe with every part of their being that they can’t exist without their addiction. Don’t buy into it. They can be whole without their addiction but they won’t believe it, so you’ll have to believe it enough for both of you. You might have to accept that they aren’t ready to move towards that yet, and that’s okay, but in the meantime don’t actively support their view of themselves as having no option but to surrender fully to their addiction. Every time you do something that supports their addiction, you’re communicating your lack of faith in their capacity to live without it. Let that be an anchor that keeps your boundaries strong. 

  10. When you stand your ground, things might get worse before they get better.

    The more you allow yourself to be manipulated, the more you will be manipulated. When you stand your ground and stop giving in to the manipulation, the maniplulation may get worse before it stops. When something that has always worked stops working, it’s human nature to do it more. Don’t give into to the lying, blaming or guilt-tripping. They may withdraw, rage, become deeply sad or develop pain or illness. They’ll stop when they realise your resolve, but you’ll need to be the first one to decide that what they’re doing won’t work any more.

  11. You and self-love. It’s a necessity. 

    In the same way that it’s the addict’s responsibility to identify their needs and meet them in safe and fulfilling ways, it’s also your responsibility to identify and meet your own. Otherwise you will be drained and damaged – emotionally, physically and spiritually, and that’s not good for anyone.

  12. What are you getting out of it?

    This is such a hard question, and will take an open, brave heart to explore it. Addicts use addictive behaviours to stop from feeling pain. Understandably, the people who love them often use enabling behaviours to also stop from feeling pain. Loving an addict is heartbreaking. Helping the person can be a way to ease your own pain and can feel like a way to extend love to someone you’re desperate to reach. It can also be a way to compensate for the bad feelings you might feel towards the person for the pain they cause you. This is all really normal, but it’s important to explore how you might be unwittingly contributing to the problem. Be honest, and be ready for difficult things to come up. Do it with a trusted person or a counsellor if you need the support. It might be one of the most important things you can do for the addict. Think about what you imagine will happen if you stop doing what you’re doing for them. Then think about what will happen if you don’t. What you’re doing might save the person in the short-term, but the more intense the addictive behaviour, the more destructive the ultimate consequences of that behaviour if it’s allowed to continue. You can’t stop it continuing, but you can stop contributing to it. Be willing to look at what you’re doing with an open heart, and be brave enough to challenge yourself on whatever you might be doing that’s keeping the addiction alive. The easier you make it for them to maintain their addiction, the easier it is for them to maintain their addiction. It’s as simple, and as complicated, as that.

  13. What changes do you need to make in your own life?

    Focusing on an addict is likely to mean that the focus on your own life has been turned down – a lot. Sometimes, focusing on the addict is a way to avoid the pain of dealing with other issues that have the capacity to hurt you. When you explore this, be kind to yourself, otherwise the temptation will be to continue to blunt the reality. Be brave, and be gentle and rebuild your sense of self, your boundaries and your life. You can’t expect the addict in your life to deal with their issues, heal, and make the immensely brave move towards building a healthy life if you are unwilling to do that for yourself.

  14. Don’t blame the addict.

    The addict might deserve a lot of the blame, but blame will keep you angry, hurt and powerless. Addiction is already heavily steeped in shame. It’s the fuel that started it and it’s the fuel that will keep it going. Be careful you’re not contributing to keeping the shame fire lit.

  15. Be patient.

    Go for progress, not perfection. There will be forward steps and plenty of backward ones too.  Don’t see a backward step as failure. It’s not. Recovery never happens in a neat forward line and backward steps are all part of the process.

  16. Sometimes the only choice is to let go.

    Sometimes all the love in the world isn’t enough. Loving someone with an addiction can tear at the seams of your soul. It can feel that painful. If you’ve never been through it, letting go of someone you love deeply, might seem unfathomable but if you’re nearing that point, you’ll know the desperation and the depth of raw pain that can drive such an impossible decision. If you need to let go, know that this is okay. Sometimes it’s the only option. Letting go of someone doesn’t mean you stop loving them – it never means that. You can still leave the way open if you want to. Even at their most desperate, most ruined, most pitiful point, let them know that you believe in them and that you’ll be there when they’re ready to do something different. This will leave the way open, but will put the responsibility for their healing in their hands, which is the only place for it to be.

And finally …

Let them know that you love them and have always loved them – whether they believe it or not. Saying it is as much for you as it is for them. 


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This is such an important topic that affects so many people. It’s great to see this issue being discussed and addressed in a thoughtful and empathetic way.


I am sitting in tears as I read the article and the responses.
Me, the strong one who refused to walk away a few months ago, when he eventually told me his drops of communication for days was chronic crack addiction. He said he feared hurting me, but I was just relieved that I now know what the problem is. He said he asked for me to come into his life 7 months ago, when we first met and there was something almost otherworldly about our getting together. The spirits had answered him. I am a health professional, don’t drink, smoke and if I have any addiction it is to life and the outdoors.
We have planned for having great adventures together and to take off and travel At 59 years (me 60), he has no savings and lives hand to mouth. He is somehow holding down a job, even though for a week after his binge he is asleep in bed all day. He becomes manic for a while after, in his work, helping others, new ventures, new eating habits, health regimes. I’ve told him that he is in fact avoiding the real problem – addressing the addiction.
He stays awake until the early hours watching tic toc and YouTube and says he needs little sleep. It feels like teenage behaviour. I need 8 hours a night and have a demanding job, and it’s taking its toll on my health.
We’ve planned weekends away, but he’s let me down a few times and I’ve been so used to reliable snd healthy minded and bodied partners and husband, so I’ve tried to accept him for what he is; unreliable, difficult to plan anything, no money to do much and that even though he thinks of himself as an outdoor person and a traveller, he spends most of his time in a dark room, and rarely goes outside.
We’ve had cosy nights in, making meals, watching films, taking about politics, history, have a great emotional and sexual connection, and this passive guy has been good for me; a person who is usually go, go and wants to meet challenges head on. Initially, I thought he was the most compatible person I had met and had to pinch myself that after a 20 year marriage and my first go at dating, I had met this wonderful person.
His belief and positivity for getting through this addiction are so strong and I have been there with love and support and he says this makes him feel stronger. I’ve sent positive texts, songs, poems to help him when he is going through the come down; whilst he is beating himself up, feeling the guilt, shame and trying to fathom out why…..thinking, and thinking for days on end, but not wanting to take action. Talking about it , yes, but getting no further than the talk.
I’ve downloaded work sheets – one is self sabatoge, but there is always something else he has to do. He had admitted he has failed to do this alone and agreed to attend an online 12 steps. I had to get it set up and sit there with him, and I will need to go to the meetings with him, as he just won’t do it by himself
I’ve read so many posts that says get out and walk away. He let me down again last night. I turned up at his. I already knew he’d taken; drop out of being contactable the night before. Speaking to me on his way back from the city, I already knew he had once again ignored the trigger of being out late at night, coming home on the train, but he had said he felt so positive and had no money to spend. Then the devil on his shoulder tempts him; just in that moment and he’s on the road to destruction. I thought I could brush it off, expecting him to have smoked again. He says it was 1-2 monthly. Last two times it’s been two weekly.
This crack house, he stays over. Before he came home as quick as possible. This time he has been out 2 nights, maybe 3, as I’m at my home and don’t know whether he has retuned. My thoughts started trying to make sense of it snd I could only think that he must be having cocaine induced sex, which has then caused me to send to him a comedy sketch about cheating and other posts about HIV risks. I’m now scared, as he will deny that he slept with anyone when I ask him. From what I ve read about these places, it does seem like the night mare he has described, and maybe there is no sex involved, but I’m so scared of catching a sexual disease from him. Thing is, he has spoken about wild sex in the past and when he did come back to me one night after crack, the sex acts and longevity of sex we had was something I had never experienced. When he comes down, he wants cuddles and talk for days, his libido reduces and he stops being as thoughtful and romantic. When sex resumes, it’s good, but I fear that he misses the wild drug induced sex. He tries not to out any temptations in his path, and says he wants healthy sex and a committed relationship, He has been used to being with women just for sex and then getting on with his own stuff. He is trying not to be so selfish and to get back to being in a loving relationship.
After reading the article, I was relieved that I am doing the right things to help him and decided to send a text to say I haven’t given up on him, but I am hurting and need time to look after myself. It has been comforting to read that I do need to get on with my life and me….I am starting to lose this, and must not let that happen. I don’t actually think he will meet his dreams of travel and all,the things we have planned, but I will. I have places to see and things to do and so will live the life with or without him. I’m booking up next year, and he can come if he has the money or not if he spends it all on crack.
For now, I will be there for him as I promised and am going to step back from pushing the 12 steps and work sheets. If he really wants to stop, he will take action.
I think I’m going to think, I’m with a crack addict who may not recover. I love this guy and can not walk away at this time, but there may have to be a time.
The upset when he does not communicate for days and days, and fails to turn up. Infidelity; that is the deal breaker, and the trust is not there. He is not my rock.
This is his problem and I can listen, learn, suggest, advise and offer love, but each time he gives in to his habit, it takes more from me and even though I won’t say this to him, I don’t believe he can give up his mistress. She is more enticing and exciting and obsesses him more than I ever will.


God you’re just starting this? The let down and disappointment are unreal. He will ruin your career and the rest of your life. Connections are everywhere. I’m sorry you made an amazing one with someone who is addicted to crack. You should run because next he will steal your shit. Can’t take him to your friends house because he will steal their shit and then it just gets worse from their friend. I’m dealing with a different kind of addiction with my husband and father of our children. You sound smart, remember that sex is also a drug in your brain. If you’re under him you’re not getting over him…… and he’s barely showing up.


I have loved the same man for almost 4 years now. He has had his battles with a lot of different substances,you name it hes done it. Right now its fentanyl and the love and dedication he has for this drug is the most powerful of them all. The pull it has on him, the lies, the nights ive spent waiting up only for him to say his famous words, “I’m sorry” . im sorry i fell asleep in my car, im sorry i was at my grandmas, im sorry someone had a crisis, im sorry i was narcaning someone to save, Every single excuse as to why he was gone so long. Worst part is the intense paranoia he has. I mean ive been accused of sleeping with someone daily, ive been called every name in the dictionary if im ever late or with friends. Then anger creeps in because its like hell with you you have so many excuses and im suppose to be ok with it but when i do its automatically a lie. I cant even begin to explain the frustration, hurt, agony, it literally tears my soul apart. Long nights crying myself to sleep thinking maybe if i just showed him proof. The more proof i showed him the worse he got. This drug along with all the others takes their minds to some outrageously crazy scenarios, they have no logic! ive had him put trackers on me, bug my phone, call me numerous times with different phone numbers and then tell me im cheating saying all those numbers are different men. it mentally breaks you down til you are a shell of a person. But the worst part is love, because even though you hate him you feel you cant live without him. completely toxic and then the addict becomes YOUR DRUG! He recently broke up with me and thought like all the other times id take him back but i said no.i want to be your gf but i want a sober home, i require a sober home. i packed all his shit up and took it to his grandmas. my worst fear because with me his using decreased because his grandmas house is like a drug house. its not a world i want to know but keeping him in my life while hes using has pushed my boundaries so far out i have no more. I decided doing same thing over and over expecting different results is insanity so what the hell ill try something different and give him firm boundaries. Love him with everything i have…from a distance. said i will be by your side as i always have when you’re on the road to recovery. only then because i realized i was putting more work into his recovery then he was. so i will match his energy, he takes a step in recovery then so will i. as cliche as it sounds you have to let the natural life consequences hit them hard, you’re so use to being the safety net and they need to struggle and feel the natural consequences of this path they have chosen for themselves. Then the guilt floods in because we feel we abandoned them in their worst time and everyone else leaves to ill be the one that stays, show them what real love is. guilt is a very powerful feeling. someone tried to explain to me, a non addict, what addiction is really like inside their mind. they said imagine if you lost your phone or debit card.At first you’d be a little on edge racking your brain and retracing your steps but then a few days goes by and you are tearing up the house trying to find it and weeks go by and you are just obsessed with where it is…that’s how an addict feels with their next fix. i just hope and pray he finds peace and self love and recovery. I ask friends constantly what ifs,,what if he gets sober you think he will reach out and see the turmoil he left in his wake,will his sober mind finally see the things iv’e done for him out of love and see that it wasn’t abandonment but love. i ask myself nightly these questions with tears soaking my face,its hell loving an addict. hope this hits home with some of you and just have to love yourself and be mentally whole in the end even if you have to claw with everything you have to make it one more day without them.you will be ok and it will hurt a little less.


As I read this and everyones experiences my heart is breaking. When I met my boyfriend our connection was like nothing I’d every experienced we were inseperable I really felt I’d met my soul mate it just felt so right and we were so happy and life seemed perfect we quickly grew a business and a home, the future was full of possibilities until one day we had a fight over nothing much and he went to stay at a friends. He didn’t come back for ten days I was distraught. I forgave him pretty much instantly just relieved he was back. It happened few more times before I noticed a lot of money was going missing from the business account and tried to confront him about it he disappeared again for ten days no text his phone was off leaving me to look after his son. I started loosing my mind with worry I went through his clothes and bag for clues and found tin foil and two pipes right then and there it hit me he was using crack when he came home this time he was a mess covered in welts and jibbering I got his mum and best friend round and we all talked to him a sort of intervention he admitted it and said he wanted to live (his words) that he would get clean he gave me his car keys and phone and bank cards so I set about keeping him busy entertaining him spoiling him hoping if I could just keep him there show him how much better it was with me he would be able to stop and I beleive at that time he wanted to stop and two weeks later he was clean and we were stronger than ever. I was relieved and so when I needed to go abroad I though it would be ok. I was gone two weeks with his promises of making up for his mistakes while I was gone. While away I couldn;t contact him but I didnt worry too much I thought it was good we were both taking time to miss each other I came home on my birthday, excited to see him having travelled across the world I was tired but I couldn’t get in the house with my key. I called him and his mum and eventually got a message saying he was sorry he’d hit the pipe and he had run away too ashamed to see me. He’d changed the locks there was a card with ‘Happy Birthday I’m Sorry’. written on it. I was devestated I begged him to tell me where he was I went to the crack den I finally found him unable to walk in a shop doorway crying saying he wanted to die. Brought him home he had been paranoid someone was breaking in, he’d lost his job and other crack heads had stolen his car the house it was a state, I tried so hard to connect with him hold him but the next day I could see from his eyes he was desperate to use. I tried to stop him leaving I grabbed his hoody I grabbed his shoe and he my gorgeous loving boyfriend became violent with me pushing me on the floor wrestling for his hoody his foot on my neck stamping on my chest. Still I wouldnt let go I feel looking back like the hoody was symbol of our relationship and when he finally left I was badly shaken up I cried and sobbed I could not sleep I could not eat I went into shock I ws bruised and sore. He sent one text saying if he did not throw me way he would only ruin my life. I told him he was ruining my life leaving but all he said is I’ll miss you and blocked me. He left everything in the house his drivers licence his bank crds everything its been three weeks and he has dropped off the earth. Finally today I packed his stuff up and dropped it all at his mothers. I love him the old him such a gentle beautiful soul it feels like he is my addiction but I suddenly realised I dont want to live with the person coming down without any dopamine full of rage and drug psychosis waiting always for the chance to run off to leave me for that. I feel betrayed he would be using our money to go off with prostitutes and dodgy people to use. I could no longer trust him with money he lied so much. I just know I cannot cope anymore with the heartache the driving round trying to find him in the night the worry the police will come and knock. I feel like the man I loved has died honestly. I am left with a huge hole in my life knowing he is out there somewhere and isnt even thinking of me because that the the power of crack its all they want all they can see. I know its the right thing to do right now but the pain of loosing my forever person seeing him change and demand money and use me lie and most probably sleep with these women when all he used to tell me was when he would marry me when he was my world is the most devistation I have ever felt. I hope it will get easier in time. We all share a very similar experience and it has helped me to know I am not alone, thanks to everyone who has shared their experiences.


My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 7 months but have known each other since 2019 and have been friends since. What we have is real and genuine love, and he treats me amazing. We have our ups and downs, but we get through it and talk through it. In 2021 he went down a bad path and got addicted to meth. He went to rehab last summer and hasn’t done it since, thank god. But, he has a constant thought of wanting to do drugs, to not think, to forget, to get lost in that high. He tells me I’m the reason he isn’t doing drugs and that I am the reason his head is above water. I love that I help him, but I feel I shouldn’t be what he has to rely on? if that makes sense. I am constantly scared and worried it will take one bad thing and he will do it again. He truly has a heart of gold and makes me feel like the queen I am, but he gets so in his thoughts. Negative bad thoughts. And a bad mindset about life and himself. He has came so far. Sometimes when we get into arguments, I feel as almost he sometimes guilt trips me, manipulates me into thinking I am the bad person when I am not. Sometimes he makes me feel like if I do something that makes him upset, he will just resort to drugs. I just need some advice and an outside perspective from those that understand how it is to be with a recovering addict. My friends just tell me to leave him, but they don’t understand. He has made a lot of progress since we have been together and I am genuinely so proud of him. I just need some advice, I don’t have anybody who understands.


I needed this tonight thank you – I left my fiancé of five years back in March. He began a bender and it lasted a month and I chose to leave. He has yet to stop drinking and his body is slowly shutting down. My need to fix and control has taken over. I’m not living with him but can’t stop the worry of why 🙁 I am so scared he will die. And it’s breaking me watching my soul maté destroy himself 🙁


Hi, I am currently in a long term relationship. My partner has issues with drugs. He uses heroin, misuses Benzodiazepines and put me in a chokehold once. I am beyond tired of this behavior. He went to a detox, then to a rehab and after a few months started using again. I even had a DV case but I dropped the charges because I really love him and believed he could change. I also got a CPS case because of the choking incident because both of my kids were in the house when it all went down. I have told him to leave but he refuses! He’s fine drugs in my bathroom and I’m desperate to end this. He says he’s going to get his life together but he still fans into the drugs. He also takes Methadone but it’s not working since he’s still using! I feel like living with my family. My elderly mom lives with me as well. He says I’ll have to call the cops to get him out of here. I don’t know what to do! Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

Lisa C

Sounds like you will have to call the cops to get him out. You may have to get a restraining order. Go to Al Anon. The people there will understand, guide you and support you. Hugs, my dear. Safety comes first, and you must keep your kids and your mom and yourself safe.


This is a beautifully written article that I am so grateful I found when I did.
In response to Luna, I’m not a professional by any means, but I truly hope you are safe and can relate to you. . Reading your comment broke my heart bc I know that pain all too well, aside from having any children involved . You DO have all the answers you need already within you . It’s an immense pain loving someone that much, who is abusive mentally and physically . That person can swear up and down they’ll change for the better but until you see ACTION on their part (ie: in the way of some sort of rigorous treatment and therapy) I wouldn’t believe it . Not bc you don’t have faith in them, but bc the whole violent/addicted behavior situation is like a package deal . They need help with both things and in order to keep yourself your mom and your kids safe, the only choice would be to have him removed from your home via police escort and restraining order .
The fact that he’s telling YOU that he’s refusing to leave and is “getting away with it “ (I’m not placing any blame here on you ) gives him zero reason to even take anything seriously . And it’s an extremely serious matter . I do hope you have either found peace by the time you read this, or will find peace very soon.

Jackie J

I’m starting to go through the same with a partner of 2yrs I’m 62 it’s becoming very painful inside I’m heartbroken as I still love him, but I’m becoming very angry with life I want to enjoy my new grandchildren can’t do that anymore

Keith Tr

How can I share with her how deep love and connection worked for me?
I struggled before with addiction, and focusing on the one person that I was in love with was what I needed, it worked for me! If they had not been there 100%, no questions asked, I would have given up, so yes, THEY DID change me! (no matter how much I know it was my decision!).

Now I want her to know that power and I need help expressing myself and describing how it went thru my mind. (like I can go thru dentistry drilling without numbing because I know she will be there when it is over!).

It is NOT cheesy that we are meant to be WITH someone special, jeeze, how many novels, songs and movies tell this story. With someone close, you can do ten-fold! It is not a cop-out, it is the way humans are built! …Keith

fancy Simister

This is incredible.. finally makes sense to me. The pain and anguish is finally acknowledged so perfectly. Addiction is pure evil. May we all be blessed with the miracle of our loved ones sobriety 💖

Cindy v

My 21 yr old daughter is an addict. For the past 5 yrs it’s been eye opening. I missed a lot of signs in the beginning and by the time I realized how deep in drugs she was she was to old for us to legally do anything. I’ve read your article over and over. It’s so heartbreaking to see your child go from a vibrant self loving person to someone I don’t recognize. My goal is to not enable her and yet be there when she actually needs me. And for a mom it’s incredibly hard to know the difference. I play this battle in my mind every day. Going back and forth from am I going to get that dreaded phone call or knock on the door saying she gone? To having faith she’s ok and will turn up fine. I do look at people differently now. Without judgment on their behaviors and circumstances. Drugs can not only reek havoc on the addict but also their family and friends. But I do thank you for writing this article! It has helped me tremendously.


My boyfriend was in rehab for 5 months for fentanyl and relapsed 2 weeks after leaving. He overdosed that night and almost died. He has told me lie after lie and i’m still in a relationship with him. He cry’s, begs me to stay, and promises things will be different. I’m currently emotionally and mentally preparing to ask him to leave. It breaks my heart because aside from drugs, things between us are great. He’s a wonderful man, has a good job, good to his family, my best friend. But how long can this go on? I know he hasn’t used in a few weeks but its just a waiting game. This is not how i want to live my life anymore and i realize that his problems have nothing to do with me. I literally feel sick to my stomach everyday with worry that ive lost a lot of weight and my mental health is suffering. I feel so alone and it was nice to read all these comments. I hope that somehow we can find peace and contentment through all this. I’ve never hurt like this before and wouldnt wish it on my worst enemy.


Hi Jessica. I was in the same position. My bf of three years had been fine for two years and tried to replace the drugs with weed alcohol shrooms etc. He overdosed and almost died in January. I stayed with him. He has lied and manipulated me and all I had ever shown was love. I was in school cooking, cleaning, doing everything, driving around, and helping financially more than I should have.
I felt the same and I didn’t want to live my life like that anymore. I had to leave. It was the hardest decision I have ever made in my life. But getting away from that lifestyle and being able to focus on yourself and breathe is something I hadn’t been able to do in such a long time. My mental health was declining and I was in a masters program. Once I stepped away and got my mental state right…I finished with straight As and am now able to be mentally clear. The best solution is to choose you. I know that’s hard but you deserve it. It’s a horrible feeling having to watch them all night and day and you cannot even enjoy your own life and good decisions you are making. The best thing for you to do is leave, I know you love him and care but you HAVE to choose yourself. I hope this helps


My heart goes out to you so much, I’m currently lying on my sofa with my husband in our bed after another row, our two children asleep in their beds wondering how has it come to this. Ive been with my partner nearly 22 years, grew up together since we were teenagers. Now in reality I see a different person in front of me. I keep trying to change him, bring back the man i once knew. Its so hard to love an addict. I just want you to know you are not alone. Ive just read about detachment with love and its really helping me at the moment. I instantly feel relieved, like i can be supportive from a distance, instead of feeling hurt & heartbroken again & trying to change this situation. Weve always made a good team & made decisions together but this way is my only hope of saving my marriage and the emotional stress for our two children aged 12 and 8. I hope this helps you. I send you big healing hugs 🙂 you are not alone.


Kimberly I am with you. Ages 9 & 11 and I miss my best friend…I miss my husband…sometimes he is there and then he is not…
I took off my ring today, second time in 16 years as I pray it will get him back to rehab..or just get me to stop feeling responsible and affected by everything he does…
Luckily he can live downstairs and I am upstairs…as I don’t want 50-50 and I want to be around for 100%.
Sending love and hugs to YOU♥️ and the enormous patience this takes


Wow Jessica , I have a similar story except it’s reversed , my girlfriend in wa. Which I’m in a Ldr. I can relate to your pain as my pain which is purposely inflicted to me is hurtful znd im at my end of rope ? But she lies steals and cheats I hurt and love her , but here I am.


I am in the same position as you. I feel so broken from all the years of lying. Its always the same excuses over and over. He’s living in the house, but downstairs. I’m barely talking to him because I’m so over everything. I’m just exhausted by it all. Part of me fantasizes about having a decent, normal life down the road without him. I’m just not sure how I will get there. He’s trying to get on my good side with cheap talk, but I just don’t have it in me anymore. I think I’m just about done. Its scary but I just can’t fake it anymore.


I’ve been with my boyfriend on and off for 4 years. He’s had a rough childhood & has no support or friends. He was practically homeless when I met him. (I was 19 when we met, naïve) he has two kids he doesn’t have custody of, & I have my own son I have 50/50 with my sons father.
His addiction started before I came along but it was more on the lines of party drugs with his friends. But he didn’t do them on a regular basis. After repeatedly cheating on me and lying to me, I left multiple times. I probably couldn’t even count on my own hand how many times I left & came back because I loved him so much. Despite the horrible things he did behind my back, I love him.

About a year or so into our relationship his teeth were rotting due to osteoporosis. No insurance=no dentist. He started buying pain killers from his grandma for pain. That’s how it started.
Fast forward a year from then, he had his teeth removed. Once he was “healed” he didn’t stop taking them.
From that point, he started buying pressed pills from the streets. & now just fentanyl. I’ve been sitting here for the last 2 years watching him fall apart right in front of me.
He went to rehab a couple months ago, but after having a seizure & taken to the hospital (where I met him at to keep him company & show support) he said he “no longer wanted to stay in there because he’s already done this be”. I picked him up, in which I was told by his coworker who helped him into rehab, to let him walk home. Which would have been well over an hour walk.
I couldn’t do it. My heart is too big. He relapsed a couple months ago. & we are back to square one. I feel so unheard, my feelings always feel invalidated. He tells me quite frequently he just wants to kill himself. He’s even told me that I’m one of the only reasons he’s still here.
I’m just too scared to walk away because I’m terrified he will just kill himself. Or overdose. I feel so lost. I have no one because I have become reclusive due to his addiction. I need advice…


My late husband overdosed on fentanyl and died. Fentanyl was not his drug of choice. To this day I don’t know if he committed suicide. He was in a very bad place. I still feel guilt. I was in the other room when he died and had no idea he was gone. I was only with him 3 years and it was a constant battle from 6 months on. I was always afraid he would overdose and die. It was a train wreck that I in some ways saw coming. I miss and love him but realize I was powerless. I have no good solution just know your feelings are valid and you are not alone. I wish my love could have saved him.

Jo H

I really appreciate this article, it has just focussed my mind, and energies on myself and given me confidence in my decision to no longer deal with a new partner in my life whom has been using crack, mostly behind my back. It has taken certain distressing situations and my asserting boundaries which I have found really difficult in part as my history with relationships has been extremely one-sided towards the man. A blurring of boundaries or even none at all has meant my learnt behaviour has caused me to have a lot of bad situations repetitively occur. I am in my late forties now and seen a lot of people around me take hard drugs all whilst I have been working hard to become and remain abstinent from alcohol.

So reading your article about the guilt I have felt and uncomfortableness about asserting boundaries (money, lifts, babysitting, accommodation) has come at the best time. I feel a lot more confident to remain incognito from my most recent partner whom I do love, despite only knowing him a short time. It’s so sad as he is now homeless which has been a decision his own family have made due to his chaotic lifestyle and choices. Its such a sad and lonely feeling but again, your article has highlighted to me that I was enabling him and feeding into his addiction at great cost to myself and my own family. I truly hope he gets well and I am praying for him to see the addiction for what it is.

Thank you for writing this article.


Wow, I’m a addict and I am clean for 7 days now
The longest I’ve done In many years. I’ve suddenly started to feel what pain I caused my wife by reading this has made me much more aware how much damage I’ve caused over the years all the heart break. I’ve never left a review but this article is so true Inspiration I will read this most nights to help me on my journey to recovery. Thankyou


I think I wrote a comment on this same article a few months ago, which feels like years ago since my loved one’s addiction seems to cause time to stretch, bend, and stop. What really landed with me when I read the article today was the part about how the person in active addiction feels like their behaviors are survival. Because of my own attendance of a support group that I have now been attending for a month and will from now on, I understand this. The only thing I can control in this situation is my boundaries and my own reaching out for help. And that is the only way I can help. It has come to the point where yesterday I let go. I just hope he knows that I’m there as soon as he reaches out for help with his recovery. And at the same time, I need to let go of the outcome. I am not a child anymore, either. And I’m not alone.


I was with my partner for 3 1/2 years and for around 2 1/2 years I was very happy but knew something wasn’t right. He would treat me like a princess for 6/7 days but always went missing 1 day a week and told me he was visiting friends. He would be less communicative and would come home around 5 am and act like this was completely normal. When sorting out his washing one day, I found a baggie which I assumed was Cocaine. It was infact bicarbonate of soda. I then found burnt spoons and to my horror I realised he’d been smoking crack. I was horrified. I confronted him and he downplayed it. He told me it was recreational and he didn’t have a problem. I quickly learned that he was an addict but he wouldn’t accept that he had a problem. I naively thought that I could help him and stayed in the relationship. The trust was essentially gone and I was constantly in fear of what he was up to. He had a good job that he got up for every day but his personality and appearance changed. He started hanging out with new friends and drinking more at the pub and spent less time with me and would only be nice if he wanted money. It was as if he had hit the self destruct button and made stupid selfish decisions which would hurt me. He would blame everyone else but himself for things that had gone wrong in his life when in reality it was his own fault. Constant lies, manipulation and emotional cheating with another woman. Eventually he crossed a massive line when he offered crack to my 18 year old son and the police were called. I had hit rock bottom and finally had the courage to kick him out. His response was to go to the woman who he had cheated on me with whom is now his new enabler. It took a long time to come up from rock bottom to love myself again and get through the heartache but I was never going to be above his love of crack and other addictions and I am moving on with another life lesson learned. You can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved!


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“Karen Young - Hey Sigmund has such a wonderful way with words especially around anxiety. This is her latest beautiful picture book that explains anxiety through the lens of the Polyvagal theory using the metaphor of a house. This shows how sometimes anxiety can be hard to notice. I think this book can help kids and teens better understand stress and anxiety. I loved it! This would be great for homes, schools and in libraries.
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Of course we love them, no matter what - but they need to feel us loving them, no matter what. Especially when they are acting in unlovable ways, or saying unlovable things. Especially then.

This is not ‘rewarding bad behaviour’. To think this assumes that they want to behave badly. They don’t. What they want is to feel calm and safe again, but in that moment they don’t have the skills to do that themselves, so they need us to help them. 

It’s leading with love. It’s showing up, even when it’s hard. The more connected they feel to us, the more capacity we will have to lead them - back to calm, into better choices, towards claiming their space in the world kindly, respectfully, and with strength. 

This is not about dropping the boundary, but about holding it lovingly, ‘I can see you’re doing it tough right now. I’m right here. No, I won’t let you [name the boundary]. I’m right here. You’re not in trouble. We’ll get through this together.’

If you’re not sure what they need, ask them (when they are calm), ‘When you get upset/ angry/ anxious, what could I do that would help you feel loved and cared for in that moment? And this doesn’t mean saying ‘yes’ to a ‘no’ situation. What can I do to make the no easier to handle? What do I do that makes it harder?’♥️
Believe them AND believe in them. 

‘Yes this is hard. I know how much you don’t want to do this. It feels big doesn’t it. And I know you can do big things, even when it feels like you can’t. How can I help?’

They won’t believe in themselves until we show them what they are capable of. For this, we’ll have to believe in their ‘can’ more than they believe in their ‘can’t’.♥️
Sometimes it feels as though how we feel directs what we do, but it also works the other way: What we do will direct how we feel. 

When we avoid, we feel more anxious, and a bigger need to avoid. But when we do brave - and it only needs to be a teeny brave step - we feel brave. The braver we do, the braver we feel, and the braver we do… This is how we build brave - with tiny, tiny uncertain steps. 

So, tell me how you feel. All feelings are okay to be there. Now tell me what you like to do if your brave felt a little bigger. What tiny step can we take towards that. Because that brave is always in you. Always. And when you take the first step, your brave will rise bigger to meet you.♥️
#anxietyinkids #consciousparenting #parentingtips #gentleparent #parentinglife #mindfulparenting #childanxiety #heywarrior
If anxiety has had extra big teeth lately, I know how brutal this feels. I really do. Think of it as the invitation to strengthen your young ones against anxiety. It’s not the disappearance of brave, or the retreat of brave. It’s the invitation to build their brave.

This is because the strengthening against anxiety happens only with experience. When the experience is in front of you, it can feel like bloodshed. I know that. I really do. But this is when we fight for them and with them - to show them they can do this.

The need to support their avoidance can feel relentless. But as long as they are safe, we don’t need to hold them back. We’ll want to, and they’ll want us to, but we don’t need to. 

Handling the distress of anxiety IS the work. Anxiety isn’t the disruption to building brave, it’s the invitation to build brave. As their important adult who knows they are capable, strong, and brave, you are the one to help them do that.

The amygdala only learns from experience - for better or worse. So the more they avoid, the more the amygdala learns that the thing they are avoiding is ‘unsafe’, and it will continue to drive a big fight (anger, distress) or flight (avoidance) response. 

On the other hand, when they stay with the discomfort of anxiety - and they only need to stay with it for a little longer each time (tiny steps count as big steps with anxiety) - the amygdala learns that it’s okay to move forward. It’s safe enough.

This learning won’t happen quickly or easily though. In fact, it will probably get worse before it gets better. This is part of the process of strengthening them against anxiety, not a disruption to it. 

As long as they are safe, their anxiety and the discomfort of that anxiety won’t hurt them. 
What’s important making sure they don’t feel alone in their distress. We can do this with validation, which shows our emotional availability. 

They also need to feel us holding the boundary, by not supporting their avoidance. This sends the message that we trust their capacity to handle this.

‘I know this feels big, and I know you can do this. What would feel brave right now?’♥️

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